Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus


Advent: what am I waiting for?

14 Dec 2018

Advent time, or a time of waiting and hope. Which? In what? In whom? Our faith speaks to us about the Incarnation, of the coming of Jesus, of his life, Passion and death. And then about the resurrection, which in Christ is already reality and will be also so for us. But why is it so important to go back to the roots of our faith?

Advent is linked to waiting: but what an annoying and tiring word it is! Better to think about today, which at least assures me something. The password is instant gratification, a bad interpretation of seize the moment, which becomes “take advantage of everything you can take advantage of, because what you leave out is lost”. But where is personal freedom then? Where is the possibility of choice? In reality it is an illusory freedom, which makes you feel without limits, but deep down keeps us prisoners, because it “obliges” us in a way to always seek gratification, without which life seems too difficult to live. This not knowing how to wait often makes us live on the surface and the waiting coincides with the project of being in continuous movement, a restlessness not of those who clearly know what they want, but of those who flee because they are afraid also of being with themselves, those without a destination if not one which is occasional and linked to the moment. Erik Fromm emphasizes that our culture tends to create individuals who no longer have courage and no longer dare to live in an exciting and intense way. We are educated to aspire to safety as the sole purpose of life. But we can only obtain this at the price of complete conformity and resignation. From this point of view security is the opposite of joy, since joy comes from a life lived intensely.

We need to rediscover the positive value of waiting, as a taste for life, or the taste for reaching a goal; the taste for planning, at this time, which is my time, there will not be another, this is the ‘today’ of God for us.

And so what does Advent have to do with it? It is an opportunity to do a little interior cleaning: sometimes the heart is too crowded and loses sight of what is central. Sometimes we need to put things in order, in the sense of making clear again the direction in which I am moving. In short, it is an opportunity to ask myself where I find myself today.

Not only: it is the rediscovering in me of a desire for a life fully lived, beyond the discouragements, the fatigue and the inevitable “it will not change anything”. It is true that we can no longer assume that the desire for fullness is called God, but certainly in the heart of each of us there is the great aspiration to a fullness of life. Advent helps us to rediscover the true expectations, that are deeper than our life, placing trust not in easy solutions, but in the Word of God which became a concrete existence in the person of Jesus.


Fr. Agostino Caletti S.J.

He came to live among us

by Gianluca Severin

The night looms dark and silent over the world. Men, living in darkness and in the shadow of death, ask themselves: who am I? Why was I born at this time? Why do I love? Why do I suffer? Why will I die? While a profound silence enveloped all things, and the night was halfway through its course, God responds, becoming man. The star shines: darkness remains, but the light pierces it, does not allow itself to be buried and shows the way. It is a single celebration, on earth as it is in heaven: the peace promised to all men has arrived because He loves them.

Scattered everywhere are the shepherds; there are those who waited, those who feared what would happen, those who didn’t care: all of these, first, receive the news, suddenly in the tiring boredom of a cold and lonely night. Some come running, amazed and hopeful, the first witnesses of God-with-us; others remain at their occupations; some don’t listen, others fear deception and danger, others don’t believe it’s worth it. There are all of them in the nativity.

The Magi come from afar. Wise and thirsty for the infinite, they faced, following the star, a journey of desires and doubts, hopes and fears, they arrive in Bethlehem. In that stable they kneel, in front of that naked child on the bare rock the joy is immense, they open their treasure chests, offer gold, incense and myrrh: God, whom the greatest cannot contain, now inhabits the smallest.

In the background here is Jerusalem, majestic and crumbling, which rejects those in need and kills the prophets who are sent to it. What do you fear, O Herod, at the announcement that the King has been born? You make your choice: a God who is not reflection or prop of your glory must be destroyed; power reasserts itself by shedding innocent blood. You want to kill the Life that, lying in a manger, makes your throne totter. He did not come to be served but to serve! You decree, to eliminate that one, the extermination of many children: heartbroken mothers don’t make you hesitate, the lament of fathers doesn’t move you, the moan of newborns doesn’t stop you.

To the announcement of the angel asking her to become the Mother of God, Mary responded with confidence.

Joseph, a righteous man, had entrusted himself to the will of God, had taken charge of the mystery surrounding that child and his wife.

Now they flee, alone in a foreign land, His promise of a new life is followed by dangers of death. They leave everything, keeping everything in their hearts, with a child in their arms who, when the time has come, will leave them in order to take care of the Father’s affairs, to fulfill His will and travel the path that, from that cave, leads to the tomb and…

The nativity scene narrates the love of God who emptied himself by choosing the condition of every human being, in whatever condition. He came into our truth because He loves us, He exposes Himself to our rejection but He is always here, a gift without conditions. Put everyone in your nativity scene, your whole life, all your traditions and tastes, and in a corner, even if it is poor and hidden, put baby Jesus.



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